Even boys couldn't keep sisters apart forever

The pictures tell the tale. Sis is holding me in her arms, smiling down at the real, live Kewpie doll our mother hatched. What fun, Sis thinks.

A year or so later we're at the beach. She's a young teen beauty, just trying to catch some rays. But her pesky lil sis won't give her a moment's peace.

Butt stuck up in the air in the inimitable stink-bug position, my giant toddler head is down near the sand — and pressed right up next to her face.

"Wanna play in da water wif meeee? Wanna? Huh? Wanna?"

Two years later Sis is trying to hang with her girlfriend on the back deck. Probably wants to talk about boys. Guess who's pressed up next to her side. And I've brought along my dog — he's climbing up into her lap.

The snapshots roll on and on of Sis and her shadow. Always the same goofy kid. Always her same beautiful smile and kind blue eyes.

Then came a day when I was about 10 or so. She'd met the new boy next door, and they'd tumbled in love. In fact, they were getting married.

I thought that was just dandy. A new brother, studying to be a pediatrician, who was likewise kind to his would-be bride's twerpy kid sister. What fun!

The more the merrier in our little house, I figured.

Thing's went south in a hurry when Mom explained the newlyweds weren't going to be living in Sis' bedroom.

"Gary and Judy will be making a home of their own," Mom said.

The news did not set well. At all. I'm afraid poor Gary bore the brunt of my disgruntlement. I'm sure there were words. I know there was a lot of glaring.

"Sister Stealer" was patient. Very.

But it was still touch and go. My older brother was stationed next to me during the happy couple's backyard ceremony. His sole duty was to clap a firm hand over my mutinous mouth as soon as the minister asked, "Does anyone here object?"

They traveled a lot those first dozen years or so. Bethesda, Bermuda and a couple closer cottages. They built their family. And Sis and I saw each other whenever we could. We talked a lot on the phone. But it wasn't the same.

Eventually they landed here in the Rogue Valley. Then, so did I.

Sis and I have lived and loved and lost enough to know each day spent together is a blessing. Time is precious. So is family.

Friday night we celebrated her birthday at Agate Ridge winery. Judy is a huge fan of Karen Lovely and her kick-ass band. I was tickled to see a certain trombone-playing Mail Tribune editor tear it up. (Small world note: His kids were once patients of the aforementioned pediatrician.)

The music, the night, the love. All of it grabbed me. So I grabbed Sis' hand and dragged her out onto the lawn for a twirl.

"Wanna dance with me? Huh? Wanna?"

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or email sspecht@mailtribune.com.

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